We’re often told not to sit for too long and stay active – but what if your job requires sitting at a desk all day? A lot of office based jobs are being blamed for poor physical health, in addition to our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. Sitting at a computer screen all day and a TV screen all night is taking its toll – and the figures prove it.
The British Chiropractic Association conducted a survey of British adults, and the findings reveal that adults, especially men, are experiencing back pain from a younger age. 82% of men surveyed admitted to having back or neck pain, up from 75% the year before. Alarmingly, the average age for a man to visit a chiropractor is 37, which is dropping from previous years. The main cause is this sedentary lifestyle – men are nowhere near as active as they were in previous generations.
In 2015, The Daily Express reported the shocking truth about the back pain epidemic. 10 million working days were lost in the previous year due to back pain, with 25-34 year olds accounting for 1.89 million days. The condition is costing the economy billions in lost staff.
Office Work – the Painful Truth
Sitting causes more pressure on the back than standing, so sitting for long periods of time, even with a good posture, will wreak havoc on your spine. Your workstation and chair should be positioned to reduce strain on your back and neck – you should have a workplace assessment to find the ideal position. You’d be surprised at how many factors could affect your back: your mouse position, keyboard position, desk layout and chair height to name a few.
If you think about it, for five days a week you are repeating the same movements of typing, answering the phone and looking at the screen. Sitting down in the same position for 35+ hours a week, especially if your workstation isn’t arranged properly, can cause damage and you’ll probably eventually develop back or neck pain.
Take a Break
It’s really important to break up these long periods of sitting. If your job allows, get up and walk around the office every half an hour to move your muscles and stretch. Sometimes there are other tasks you can do standing up, such as speaking on the phone or photocopying. It’s better to have lots of short breaks rather than one long break in the middle of the day.
Prevention is Key
Prevention is better than a cure, so it’s always better to look after your back from an early age rather than wait for the pain to take hold. If you have a sedentary job, visit a chiropractor to see if there are any underlying problems which could be addressed before you experience pain. Similarly, if you do feel any pain in the neck or back, don’t just mask the issue with painkillers – find the root of the problem and visit a health professional for treatment.
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